Sekajja Scores As New York Win Shield

Ibrahim-SekagyaUganda’s most celebrated footballer, Ibrahim Sekajja has inspired the New York Red Bulls to silverware after they pummelled the Chicago Fire 5-2 to win the MLS Supporters’ Shield for the first time.

The former Cranes captain slotted home the second goal of the game and his second for the MLS club.

The only African to have captained a club in the Austrian league where he won three league titles and one cup had just made a huge statement – he’s always had the talent and clout to play alongside some of the world’s greatest footballers. Not only are the New York Red Bulls second in the Eastern conference league, they have Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill.

New York had already secured a post-season berth. But with the victory they captured their first significant Major League Soccer honor — the Supporters’ Shield awarded to the team with the best regular-season record.

They are now assured of home field advantage in the MLS Cup playoffs — including hosting the MLS Cup Final if they make it to the league’s title match.

After the Fire — who needed at least a draw to have a chance of sneaking into the playoffs — opened the scoring in the sixth minute, New York’s former French international Thierry Henry scored a brilliant equaliser in the 24th.

Henry used his chest to bring down a pass lobbed from Peguy Luyindula and slammed a shot on the half-volley that struck the underside of the crossbar and went in.

The Red Bulls took the lead four minutes into the second half as Henry lofted a free kick into the area that was headed toward the goal by Dax McCarty. Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson deflected the ball, but New York defender Sekagya slotted home the rebound.

Sam Lloyd, Eric Alexander and Jonny Steele also scored for New York, who had made it to one MLS Cup Final, losing in 2008.

They’d won the Eastern Conference two other times, in 2000 and 2010, but failed to claim any silverware.

“It’s a great feeling,” Henry said. “I want to dedicate the Supporters’ Shield to all the fans. We know how much it means to them. They’ve been waiting a long time for this.”

 

 

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